Marking the six year anniversary of the US occupation of Baghdad, tens of thousands of supporters of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr rallied in the city demanding that President Barack Obama fulfill his campaign promise to remove all American troops from Iraq.
One of the students, waving an Iraqi flag, proclaimed “we were so happy when they brought down the statue, but now we want the occupation to end. The Americans are very tough against the Iraqis.” The cleric’s formal message urged God to “return sovereignty to our country.”
As the US military presence has moved past its six year anniversary, the Sadr faction has been among the most vocal opponents of the ongoing war. Though President Obama had spoken often during the campaign of a 16-month timetable for having troops out of Iraq, he quickly abandoned it in favor of a drawdown that will keep as many as 50,000 troops in the nation at least through 2011.